AUGUSTA, Kan. – For running back Ryan Andrews and the Augusta Orioles, running was the name of the game on Friday night as the Orioles defeated the Circle Thunderbirds, 28-0.

Despite finishing with 193 rushing yards, Augusta’s rushing attack did not get the start it wanted. Just two plays into the game, Duke Lichlyter fumbled the ball, giving Circle an early possession inside their opponents’ territory.

Augusta forced a turnover on downs after only allowing one first down and began to build a drive of their own. It would take just under four minutes for the Orioles to find the endzone, curtesy of a nine-yard rush by Andrews.

“Our linemen were physical and got lower than theirs,” Andrews said. “That created holes for me to run through.”

The momentum had joined Augusta’s side and showed no signs of leaving as the Orioles forces a three-and-out just after scoring the touchdown. A couple plays into the Augusta drive, the Orioles lost another fumble, this one by Justin Clausing, giving Circle the ball back.

“Just stop fumbling,” Augusta Head Coach Jason Filbeck said. “[I told our players to] just hold onto the ball and we can beat these guys.”

The first quarter ended shortly after the turnover, Augusta leading on the scoreboard and significantly in time of possession. Meanwhile, Circle was putting one of their best-looking drives of the season together, taking advantage of the short gains and stringing them together.

“They were on a drive, a long one,” Filbeck said. “If you can make them have to snap it again, you are doing okay on defense.”

The drive skid to a half when Lichlyter intercepted Luke Myers’ throw to the endzone, retuning the ball 83 yards to the Augusta 17-yard line. Two plays later, Andrews fought his way into the endzone yet again, this time from 14 yards out.

Augusta’s rock solid defense returned to the field and held the Thunderbirds to a punt situation, giving the Orioles the ball with seconds remaining to run off the clock.

Andrews had 31 yards and two touchdowns at halftime, helping Augusta to their 14-0 halftime lead.

The opening kick of the second half was carried well to nearly midfield by Jaquez Hill for Circle until an illegal block penalty negated the run. This was only the beginning to a long, penalty-stacked second half.

The Thunderbirds found themselves in a fourth and short situation and were unsuccessful in their attempt to grab the first down, Augusta’s defense tuning in well on every fourth down.

With a short field in front of them, Augusta took over. It took under three minutes for the Orioles to find the endzone a third time. The touchdown came from Hunter Anderson, his 6th carry of the night, this one for nine yards.

The Augusta defense returned to the field, confidence swelling at this point. The Orioles made quick work of this defensive stand as well, forcing a punt.

Finally, the Circle defense got a stop to bring some momentum to their sidelines. After forcing Augusta to punt after a 76 second drive, Gunner Coslett blocked the punt to give Circle possession in Augusta territory.

The game continued with back and forth punt/turnover on downs possessions until early in the fourth quarter when Augusta began to form a nice drive once again. Two minutes later, Clausing ran for four yards and a fourth touchdown for the Orioles.

The momentum had flooded the Augusta sidelines by this time, helping the Orioles defense to cause a fumble two plays into Circle’s next drive.

The game returned to the back and forth short, unsuccessful drives to the end of the game. Augusta finished with 241 yards (48 pass, 193 rush) with five Orioles with double-digit rushing yards.

Anderson finished with 54 yards on 10 carries while Clausing had 57 yards in nine attempts. Anderson also threw for all 48 yards, with three separate receivers with 10+ yard catches.

Augusta hits the road next week to take on Buhler, who is playing well to open the year.

“[Behler] is a very good team and they always have been,” Filbeck said. “I just want the kids to not fear the jersey and just know that if we can play low, we can play with anybody.

As for Circle, they return home next week to take on Winfield.

CIR – 0 0 0 0 - 0

AUG – 7 7 7 7 – 28

AUG – Ryan Andrews 9 yd TD rush (kick good)

AUG – Ryan Andrews 14 yd TD rush (kick good)

AUG – Hunter Anderson 7 yd TD rush (kick good)

AUG – Justin Clausing 4 yd TD rush (kick good)